Plant and Food Research, Auckland
Can we increase the numbers of native and beneficial invertebrates in our orchards?
Over the past decade we have conducted a number of studies to try to provide an answer to this question. We started with surveys of the invertebrates found in kiwifruit and apple orchards and tried to determine the proportion that were native or beneficial exotic species. Through collaboration with a number of wonderful growers we were able to investigate the management practices that were having an effect on the populations of invertebrates in the orchards. We’ve also made some progress towards identifying the species contributing to the suppression of pest insect populations and decomposition processes on the orchards, and we’ve started research to understand the resource needs of native pollinators. With the increasing interest in planting native trees and shrubs on “unproductive” areas of land, there is hope that orchards can become areas of ecological, as well as productive, value.